Leandro Negre the newly elected President of FIH took the trouble to communicate to the Asian hockey fraternity that "FIH is committed in helping Asian hockey." This message was spelt out in his article as a Sunday Guest in today's Sunday Times. It is probably that he is in Malaysia meeting the President of AHF and plus the fact that earlier he was in India where the predicament related to the 2010 World Cup is high on his agenda. Maybe also his conscience is pricking him on the question of equitable Asian & African representation in FIH and its Committees.
Whatever it is, this former hockey Olympian has taken the time and is making the right moves to see the revival of hockey in Asia. He cannot let his period at the helm of FIH see the continuous decline of hockey in the Asian and African continent. History must not document that he permitted the game of hockey to be dominated by Europe, Oceania and the North Americans. It could get even more damaging if history interprets that the game and its administration was dominated by "caucasian" type people and that probably contributed to the decline. More so as Leandro Negre was the former President of European Hockey Federation.
I am not planting any seeds of racism or doubt but circumstances may allow such interpretation and this is why equitable Asian and African representations is paramount. The famous legal maxim comes very appropriate: "Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done".
It is good to note that FIH is helping Asia by providing hockey sticks and balls. It is also endeavouring to help India, once a major force in hockey. I salute Leandro Negre for these actions but i think it is only the " tip of the iceberg" and not the iceberg itself. I believe a comprehensive plan for Asia, Africa including South America must be put in place to uplift hockey. This must cover promotion of the game , development - players, coaches & officials, affordable infrastructure, facilities & equipments and rules of the game.
Leandro Negre must appreciate that these are the issues that inhibit the game to flourish in these continents. Indeed, why is FIH reluctant to keep and organise grass hockey? Yet it promotes indoor, which itself is not readily accessible to most Asians and Africans like grass. This itself reflects the imposition of developed nations style & standards on developing and poorer countries. Therefore, is FIH really helping hockey let alone Asia and Africa?
No! I am not turning the cloak back. All i want Mr Negre to be aware is that while his endeavours are extremely good, please appreciate nine tenth (9/10th) of the "iceberg's" issues remain unattended. If Leandro believes it is a start, then GREAT! The President of FIH must have strategies, master plans and time lines, if he really wants Asia, Africa and South America to flourish the game in their continents.
In the meantime Mr Negre, I must congratulate you for pro-actively engaging Asia.